Competition Dong Ding Oolong Tea Comparison

February 24, 2020

Ever wonder what's the difference in a competition tea? What's so special about it? Is it worth the price? We did a taste comparison of our competition award-winning and regular offering of Dong Ding Oolong and note the variations in preparation, appearance, and flavor. Read on to find out the difference!

We compared Eco-Cha's spring and winter batches of Dong Ding Oolong Tea, along with an award-winning batch from a winter tea competition. Our Dong Ding Oolong comes from a family run farm in Yonglong Village in central Taiwan. The father/son team have been consistent prize winners in their local competition for many years. Below is a photo of the son, proud winner of the Top 2% award in last spring's competition. He also received Top 8% Award in the winter competition.

Son of the father/son team from whom we source Dong Ding Oolong Tea in central Taiwan

Preparation

Our Award Winning Dong Ding Oolong Tea is from the same harvest as our current winter batch of Dong Ding Oolong. They are simply two different days of the same harvest — one of which was chosen to enter the winter competition. Preparation for competition involves removing the the stems protruding from the tightly rolled leaves, and roasting them a bit more extensively. It was quite interesting to taste the difference between these two batches of the same harvest, as well as how they compared to the previous spring harvest.

Three different batches of Dong Ding Oolong Tea all from the same farm

Appearance

One of the most immediately noticeable differences is in the appearance of the brewed tea from the two winter batches. The competition tea has a more transparent bright golden orange color. The standard production has more of a reddish/orange color with a deeper luminescence. The maker of this tea confirmed that the difference in color and transparency reflects a level of uniform drying and curing. The competition tea was roasted without stems, allowing for optimal uniformity in the roast level. Leaves with stems may need more pushing in the roast to achieve a balance.

Award Winning Dong Ding Oolong Tea dry leaves

Award Winning Dong Ding Oolong Tea has all stems removed before roasting.

Flavor Profile

The competition tea has a smoother, more balanced and integrated flavor profile with a more subtle, yet complex finish. The standard production has a bolder character with more distinct flavors including foresty, smoky, and sweet notes. The comparative characters can really be seen as a difference in refinement. The competition tea is more refined, but almost demands a sophisticated palate to fully appreciate it. There is no missing the exceptionally smooth, balanced character of the competition brew however!

 

The spring batch is more fruity and tangy by comparison, reflecting a difference in the level of oxidation. It tastes more oxidized and less roasted. It has a substance to the aroma coming off the brewed leaves as well as in the brewed tea that sets it apart from the winter batches. Its character reflects the season that produced it.

The Yonglong/Fenghuang Community in central Taiwan as seen from Dong Ding Mountain in Lugu, Taiwan.

Above is the Yonglong/Fenghuang Community as seen from Dong Ding Mountain in Lugu, Taiwan. These three place names are the original source of Taiwan's  traditionally made Dong Ding Oolong Tea. The local tea competition is held each spring and winter, where only residents of these three villages are allowed to participate. Below is a shot of Qi Lin Lake, located at the foot of Dong Ding Mountain, viewed from Yonglong Village.

Qi Lin Lake, located at the foot of Dong Ding Mountain, viewed from Yonglong Village.

Different Results

As you can see, there is a noticeable difference in competition-level tea versus a regular offering, even though they came from the same harvest. Seasonal harvest of the same tea can also give different results. We encourage you to do your own taste comparisons of variations of the same tea, as it really is an educational as well as enjoyable experience. What differences in harvests have you noticed in your teas? Let us know in the comment section below!

SUBSCRIBE!

If you found this post useful and would like to hear more about the specialty tea industry here in Taiwan, follow us on YouTubeFacebook, and Instagram and please subscribe to our newsletter. Subscribe now and get $5 off your first order!

 





Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.


Also in News

Early Spring Bi Luo Chun Green Tea Tasting Notes | Eco-Cha Tea Club
Early Spring Bi Luo Chun Green Tea Tasting Notes | Eco-Cha Tea Club

April 06, 2020

We can see in the photo of the dried leaves above that they were hand-plucked while still very young and tender. This is evident not only by the size of the leaves, but also in the protective fur that is still on the whitish colored leaf buds. It is this stage of leaf growth, along with the heirloom cultivar of tea tree that give Bi Luo Chun its distinctive character among Green Teas — especially when it is from the first flush of spring tea buds!

View full article →

Early Spring Bi Luo Chun Green Tea | Eco-Cha Tea Club
Early Spring Bi Luo Chun Green Tea | Eco-Cha Tea Club

April 03, 2020

The earliest days of spring harvest are known to produce the most complex and delicately flavored Bi Luo Chun Green Tea. The leaves have more substance as a result of growing more slowly, combined with a fresh spring floral quality that comes from the plants entering their heightened phase of spring vegetation.

View full article →

Bi Luo Chun Tea early spring harvest
Bi Luo Chun Tea Early Spring Harvest | Eco-Cha Teas

March 14, 2020

Freshly picked early spring Bi Luo Chun Tea is here! We added Bi Luo Chun Green Tea to our menu just last September and it has gotten a great response. So we planned ahead this year, and took a trip up northern Taiwan to visit the farms and factory as soon as the spring harvest season began to get more.

View full article →